Tel-Avivians, to paraphrase Douglas Adams, are totally out to lunch.
It's because the cafés and kiosks are so inviting, and the weather so good for sitting outside.
Here is what you'll see on a given weekday, at a typical kiosk on the southern end of Rothschild Boulevard:
Don't let the flip-flops fool you - we're here to work. People can sit here for hours. Cafés are a good place to go if you work from home, and crave seeing someone other than your cat. This is the Tel-Avivian version of the American garage - we don't have a garage to start a business from, but we have great coffee.
Free Wi-Fi is a basic service, really.
You can log on to the Tel Aviv free Wifi. There are hotspots all over the city, including the beach. Better still, log onto the kiosk's network. You'll have to ask the staff for the password but it won't cost you any money. Finding a power socket for your laptop, on the other hand, takes luck. This guy here on the right has managed to grab the only place in this kiosk that has a power socket near a table. You'll have better luck in an indoor establishment.
As you find a seat, look to see that your bike is still there where you tied it to the fence. If it's an electrical bike, do the rest of us a favor and go throw it in the Yarkon, where hopefully it will melt. Actually they cleaned the river* so it'll just rust, but that will have to do. (Why? Electric bikes** are a menace, that's why!)
This kiosk is self-service - so you go up to the counter and order something off the fine-organic-vegan friendly menu. Carnivores also welcome. The menus in Tel Aviv are quite fine, catering to people who have been around the world and can appreciate good food, especially now that French immigrants have arrived, pushing it to a whole new level.
While you wait for your quinoa salad, you can run your business on your cellphone, or, if the battery died, talk to the friends that you came with. The Tel Aviv boulevards are such nice places for a chat. It will pass the time while the friendly staff charges your cell for you (just 'cause you begged. Israelis will never ditch an "Achi" in need. Achi = my brother. Everybody is Achi).
You can take a nice weaved rag from the counter and sit on the grass instead of the tables or benches. On Fridays especially, the grass around the kiosks become one big, very sweet baby picnic. It's different on Fridays***, much more social. Also, all the dog owners in the area stop by for coffee while walking the pooch, so the kiosk-café will usually have a jar of free dog biscuits. And a doggy poop bag dispenser...
Hey! They're calling your name on the loud speaker! Your order is ready!
You can spend entire days like this. Like I said. Totally out to lunch.
* The Yarkon is not officially a river. It's just a stream. There is only one real river in all of Israel – the Jordan river.
**The electric bikes create a lot of controversy - on one hand, they're a super great way to get around the city. On the other hand, they ride on the sidewalks and hit the pedestrians. The E.R. doctors are appalled by the children and elderly victims. Regulation is only just getting formed, and Israelis, how shall I say it, don't like behaving by the rules.
*** The work week in Israel is Sunday to Friday, Saturday is "Shabbat" – the official rest day. Therefore, Friday is already the weekend here.